Rwanda from the sky

Rwanda – worth a visit

I’m sure that if you asked around, not many people will list Rwanda as one of their top tourist destinations to visit in Africa. This is partly due to ignorance (It’s a town somewhere in South Africa right? Err, no!), mainly because of the very bad things that happened in 1994 and probably because they just never considered the country for no reason what so ever.

In my field of work, I get to travel quite a bit in and around Africa. Only once you start travelling across the continent and immerse yourself in the local cultures do you begin to fully understand and appreciate the diversity, beauty and opportunity present in each country. More often than not, this is a far cry from the information we are exposed to in the news. Fun and interesting stuff does not always make the front page.

Some people will probably be shocked to hear that Rwanda is ranked the second highest economy in Africa, after Mauritius and before South Africa in the World Bank’s Ease of doing Business rankings. More notably some of the key indicators they scored top marks in Africa: Starting a business (it takes 2 days), registering a property (12 days) and getting credit. Rwanda placed second in obtaining electricity (South Africa ranked 27th) and enforcing contracts and third overall for paying taxes and protection of investors.

The Rwanda government is spending a great deal in promoting the country as an attractive tourist and conferencing destination. To this end they contracted Mammoth media in 2012 to produce their tourist brand videos. After delivering the finished video, Mammoth decided to create another edit to include all the bonus footage and outtakes.

This video certainly left me wanting to get to Rwanda as soon as possible.

Oh and if you do get to visit Rwanda, remember that plastic bags are banned. Tourists are warned not to bring them to the country. Who knew?

Red Rooibos cappuccino

Escape from reality

“Fantasy is hardly an escape from reality. It’s a way of understanding it.” - Lloyd Alexander

Lloyd Alexander was an influential American author of more than forty books, mostly fantasy novels for children and adolescents. His most famous contribution to the field of children’s literature is the fantasy series The Chronicles of Prydain. The concluding book of the series, The High King, was awarded the Newbery Medal in 1969.

He said that fantasy was merely one of many ways to express attitudes and feelings about real people, real human relationships and problems.

So how does one mentally escape from reality? There are many ways to escape from the daily grind, even if it is just for a few minutes.

Some days you may need to stop your routine and get away from people and activities in your daily life – do something else that you wouldn’t normally do.

For one you could disconnect from your phone, tablet, computer, television or any other electronic devices. Perhaps go on an information diet.

Get lost in a good book or better yet, take out a journal and write down your thoughts, observations, feelings, and ideas.

Go for a long walk in a park or cycle somewhere off the beaten track. Stop to appreciate the small things and renew your sense of beauty and happiness.

Watch a new movie at the cinema or rent a good one. Listen to some music.

Visit a friend you haven’t talked to in a while.

Perhaps just pop out the office and instead of having your normal cup of coffee, have a red cappuccino.

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Johannesburg sunsets

Day 9 of the #100happydays challenge.

One thing that never ceases to amaze me is the incredible sunsets we get to witness on a daily basis in Johannesburg.

This makes me happy.

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Books make me happy

I must confess, I love books. It could be an informational book (I used to read encyclopaedias for fun), a memoir, a novel or even a recipe book.

What better way to relax than to tap into your imagination and to get lost in a good story. While now days most of my books are read off a screen via any one of the myriad mobile reading applications out there (Kindle anyone?). I do find that a printed book tends to provide for a more calming overall experience.

Someone once said that reading as little as five pages each day will give you some fundamental brainpower! See, that’s where reading encyclopaedias as a kid turned out to be a good thing.

I’m also intrigued about the notion that reading off paper vs screen could still have more advantages. I’m not sure. I do find that it depends on the topic and nature of the content.

For more on this check out – The Reading Brain in the Digital Age: The Science of Paper versus Screens by by Ferris Jabr (Read as a PDF download or online at Scientific American.)

What do you prefer: Paper or digital?

A South African blog from Johannesburg